Pacers aim to make Magic disappear in Game 5

The Sports Network
5/8/2012 7:00:09 PM
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(Sports Network) - The Indiana Pacers have managed to put a poor opening game performance behind them and will attempt to reach the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2005 when they host the reeling Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

The Pacers blew a big fourth quarter lead on Saturday for the second time in the set, but this time they came back to win in overtime.

David West posted a game-high 26 points with 12 rebounds, and George Hill's 12 points included the game-winning free throws with 2.2 seconds to play in the extra frame as the Pacers held on for a 101-99 decision over Orlando in Game 4, despite seeing a 19-point fourth-quarter lead erased.

"He was dominant, they had no answer for him," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of West. "He either scored or got doubled and found somebody for a three-point shot. That's the vision we have for our power post offense. He was at his best."

Danny Granger added 21 points and Roy Hibbert contributed 14 points with 11 boards for Indiana, which took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. The club has won three straight since surrendering 11 unanswered points in the final minutes of Game 1 to suffer an 81-77 defeat.

Jason Richardson led the Magic with 25 points and Glen Davis added 24 points with 11 rebounds in defeat.

"They did a great job of coming back and forcing overtime. My hat's off to them," Granger said of the Magic, adding, "That was a tough win."

Should Indiana win the series, it will be the first time in his NBA career that a team coached by Stan Van Gundy had won the first game and not gone on to win the series.

"For us now the real challenge is to try and get a game where we're not playing out of a hole," Van Gundy said. "We need to play a more even game and not have to be digging ourselves out of a hole all the time. I honestly believe that our guys believe they can win. We have practiced very much like we are still in a series. That's all I can go on. I think our guys will be ready to go."

Meanwhile, the Pacers have lost the first game of a series and come back to win just once before -- in the first round of the 2005 playoffs, vs. the Celtics.

"The future is unforeseen," Vogel said. "You have no idea what could happen in a game six or seven. You've got to approach Game 5 like a Game 7."

On the injury front, Granger left for a bit on Saturday with a sprained right knee but is ready to go. Orlando, of course, is playing without All-Star center Dwight Howard, who is gone for the season after back surgery.

The Pacers, who finished behind top-seeded Chicago in the Central Division, haven't moved past the first round of the playoffs since that series with Boston in '05. They've met the Magic twice in the postseason previously, the last time in 1995 with Orlando winning in seven games in the East finals.

Game 6 of the series, if necessary, will be Friday back in Orlando.

Roy Hibbert (Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images)


(Photo: Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images)
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